In Middle Of Lok Sabha Speech, PM Mourns Hathras Dead, Shouting MPs Silenced

PM Modi was speaking in the Lok Sabha when the Hathras tragedy happened (File).

New Delhi:

Prime Minister Narendra Modi – in the middle of a fierce attack on the Congress and the opposition in Parliament this evening – broke off to inform the House of a tragedy in Uttar Pradesh’s Hathras.

Dozens, including women and children, were killed in a stampede at a prayer meet.

Mr Modi, who was fighting a vociferous battle with the opposition while speaking on the Motion of Thanks to President Droupadi Murmu’s joint address to Parliament last week, paused and told his fellow MPs of the tragedy. As he did so, the Lok Sabha, which seconds earlier had reverberated with the shrieks and screams and chants of opposition MPs targeting the PM fell completely silent.

“In the midst of these discussions I have also been given sad news. It has come to my attention that there have been many tragic deaths in the stampede in Hathras…” the Prime Minister said.

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“I express my condolences to those who lost their lives (and) hope for the speedy recovery of the injured,” he added, as murmurs broke from MPs preparing to add the Hathras stampede to their arsenal of weapons against Mr Modi and his ruling BJP, which is also in power in Uttar Pradesh.

Mr Modi also said senior central government officers had been instructed to contact their state counterparts to coordinate rescue and aid efforts. “Through this forum, I assure everyone that all possible assistance will be provided to the victims,” he said. The PM’s office has announced Rs 2 lakh compensation to each of the families of those killed and Rs 50,000 to each of those injured.

The Hathras Lok Sabha MP – the BJP’s Anoop Pradhan – said he had spoken to district officers but declined to comment on the number of dead. The injured, he said, were being treated at hospitals.

Before and after the Prime Minister’s mention of the Hathras stampede, the opposition threw a wall of noise – protests, slogans, and screams – at Mr Modi as he was speaking.

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Such was the relentless sloganeering that Speaker Om Birla appeared to lose his temper on more than one occasion as he tried, without any success, to control the shrieking opposition.

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